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Is It Really That Bad to Sleep or Shower In Contact Lenses?

Is it safe to wear contact lenses while showering or sleeping?

No. It’s absolutely not safe to wear contacts while immersed in water or when sleeping (unless you have contacts specifically intended for overnight wear).

Sleeping in your contact lenses can dry out your eyes and potentially harm your vision as a result of infection. Contact lenses should also be kept away from water as it’s a natural breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms, which can get trapped under the contact lens, putting you at risk of a waterborne eye infection.

Why Does Sleeping in Contacts Increase the Risk of Infection?

To stay healthy, your corneas require hydration and oxygen. Blinking keeps your eyes wet, and the tears you produce allow oxygen to enter your eyes.

Sleeping in standard contacts limits the amount of oxygen and hydration that reach your eyes. As a result, your corneas are more dry and susceptible to corneal abrasion, and they have a harder time fighting bacteria, causing your eyes to be more prone to infection.

If, after sleeping in contact lenses, you experience blurred vision, discharge from your eyes, redness or watering, you may have an eye infection. Left untreated, infection can lead to corneal damage, and—in extreme cases—loss of vision.

What are the Risks of Showering While Wearing Contacts?

Contact lens wearers are more likely to develop keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea, if their lenses come into contact with water. Left untreated, keratitis can cause vision loss.

In microbial keratitis, microorganisms invade the cornea and cause an infection of the eye. The microorganisms that cause these infections can be found in a variety of water sources, including rivers, lakes and streams, showers, tap, a pool or jacuzzi. Normally, the antimicrobial properties of tears protect your eyes, but that process is hindered by contact lenses.

Furthermore, contact lenses can stick to your eye when exposed to water, potentially leading to corneal abrasions. These scratches may enable microorganisms found in non-sterile water to penetrate the cornea and cause an infection.

Eye Care Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

  • In order to avoid eye infections, it’s important to follow the tips below. However, do not consider these tips as medical advice. Always speak to your eye doctor for individual advice on wearing and caring for your contact lenses.
  • Avoid water while wearing contacts. Keep your contacts away from water. Make sure to remove your contacts before showering, bathing, or swimming. Don’t rinse or store your contacts in water, and if it does occur, make sure to throw away or disinfect them thoroughly.
  • Don’t sleep in your contacts. Avoid wearing your contacts when sleeping, unless you have special overnight lenses or your eye doctor has told you that it’s safe to do so.
  • Use clean hands. Always wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before touching your contacts.
  • Follow product instructions. Always follow the directions when cleaning or disinfecting your contacts.
  • Store contacts properly. Make sure your contacts are exclusively stored in fresh contact lens solution. Never reuse old solution.
  • Wear contacts for the proper length of time. Avoid wearing your contacts for longer than the recommended time period.

So, remove those lenses before going to bed and showering. If you experience symptoms like eye pain, discharge, or sensitivity to light, immediately remove your lenses and consult Vision Health Specialties in Midland without delay.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Billy J. Cook

Q: Who can wear contact lenses?

  • A: Almost everyone can wear contact lenses, no matter their age, prescription or lifestyle.

Q: What if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts?

  • A: If you fall asleep with your contacts on, you may wake up with them attached to your eye’s surface. If they don’t come out easily, blink and apply lens drops until the surface of your eye is moist. That should make it easier to remove the lenses.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Midland, Texas. Visit Vision Health Specialties for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

What Eye Drops Are Best For My Eyes?

Are you suffering from red, irritated and scratchy eyes? Do you feel like you have something stuck in your eyes? These are hallmark symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that occurs when your eyes are not properly lubricated due to insufficient tear production, blocked glands, or unbalanced tear composition.

The symptoms can be so unpleasant that many rush to the nearest pharmacy to find the perfect eye drops that will offer them the relief they need so that they can get back to focusing on other things.

However, seeking the ideal artificial tears to relieve dry eyes can be a daunting process. The eye drops shelf at the drug store offers so many options that it’s hard to know which ones are right for you. What’s more, some can actually make your symptoms worse.

Not all eye drops are created equal—currently, there are 6 main categories of artificial tears available over the counter. Choosing the artificial tears based on your specific needs can help narrow your options.

The 6 Types of Eye Drops / Artificial Tears

Preserved Artificial Tears

Preserved artificial tears contain added preservatives to maintain a very long shelf and keep bacteria at bay once the bottle is opened. Unfortunately, it also causes inflammatory dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction and an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive, leading to redness, irritation and inflammation. While these drops may offer temporary relief, long term they can do more harm than good. Moreover, the preservatives may leave residue on contact lenses.

Preservative-Free Artificial Tears

Preservative-free artificial tears are great for contact lens wearers as they don’t cause any preservative build-up on the lenses. They are also suitable for those with sensitive eyes since they contain fewer ingredients that can cause irritation.

Preservative-free eye drops typically come in a box of 28 to 30 small vials that fit in a pocket or purse.

To use these drops, just pop the top off and insert the drops into your eyes. Some of these vials can be re-capped to allow you to continue to use the vial for up to 24 hours, but not longer. Refrigerate opened vials between uses to prevent any bacterial growth.

Oil-Based Artificial Tears

Oil-based tears come in preserved and preservative-free versions. These are thicker than traditional eye drops, as they contain an oil-based formulation. The oil helps prevent the watery portion of the tears from evaporating too quickly.

If you suffer from moderate or severe dry eye, oil-based artificial tears may be a great option. However, they’re not recommended for contact lens wearers, as the oils may stick to the surface of the lenses, making it difficult to keep them clean.

Eye Drop Spray or Mist

These sprays are preservative-free and are used to relieve dryness and irritation in both the eyes and eyelids. They’re easy to use, especially for those who struggle to insert drops into their eyes.

To use the spray, just close your eyes and spray onto your closed eyelids. Once you blink, the tears will slide into your eyes.

Don’t use the spray if you’re wearing makeup, lotions, or creams on your eyelids, as it can cause the makeup or lotion to enter your eye.

Artificial Tear Gel

Artificial tear gel adds a thick coating of tears and can be used at any time of the day or night. However, the thicker consistency of the gel drop may blur your vision for several minutes.

The gel is applied in the same way as eye drops. It effectively soothes the eyes and provides extended relief for both moderate to severe dry eye.

Most artificial tear gels contain preservatives, so they can only be used up to 4 times a day, and usually they are not safe for contact lens wearers.

Artificial Tear Ointment

Dry eye ointments are thick and coat the front of your eye. They’re usually used 1 to 2 times daily as needed. It may be best to use them at bedtime, as it will blur your vision.

Get Dry Eye Relief Today!

Artificial tears may be a good way to temporarily relieve eye dryness. However, using the wrong type of eye drops can be worse than not using any drops at all. So be sure to consult your eye doctor before you get eye drops.

Keep in mind that eye drops don’t address the root cause of dry eyes; they just provide temporary respite from the uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. Only an eye doctor can examine your eyes to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your unique case of dry eye.

Schedule an appointment with Vision Health Specialties in Midland to learn more about dry eye syndrome and to find out which treatment is best for you.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Billy J. Cook

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. This may be due to certain diseases (like diabetes or other autoimmune diseases), aging, allergies, hormonal changes, smoking, poor air quality, medications and the environment.

Q: What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms including:Itchy eyes
    A feeling that there is grit or debris in the eye
    Blurred vision
    Burning sensation
    Dryness
    Irritation
    Sensitivity to light and glare

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Midland, Texas. Visit Vision Health Specialties for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How to Choose Eyeglass Frames For Your Features

You’re ready for new glasses. But how do you know which frames will best suit your features?

Some people take pictures of all the pairs they try on and send them to their friends, family or coworkers for feedback. But that’s time consuming and not particularly efficient.

Here’s a better way! Learn what frame features to look to suit the size and shape of your face, as well as your skin tone.

Below are a handful of tips that are sure to help select your frame.

What’s Your Face Shape?

The secret to finding your perfect frames is choosing a pair that best suits your face shape.

You see, our features vaguely resemble particular geometric shapes.

For example:

  • Heart-shaped faces have a narrow chin, a wide forehead and cheeks, and are sometimes topped off with a widow’s peak hairline
  • Round faces have full cheeks, a more rounded hairline and chin, and are similar in width and length
  • Oval faces are similar to round faces, except longer and thinner
  • Square faces have a strong jawline and forehead, and are roughly equal in width and length

So a pair of rectangular frames on a square face will further emphasize the squareness, but rounder glasses can help soften those angles. Rectangular frames are best suited for an oval or round face.

If you don’t already know your face shape, just look in the mirror, close one eye, and draw the outline of your face with a washable marker. The end result should resemble one of the above-mentioned shapes.

Size and Color Matter

Consider the size and color of the frames, along with their shape. They should be the right size for your face—not too big and not too small. This is true for both adults and children.

If you have a cool skin tone, colors to consider for your frames are blue, pink, blue-grey, silver, black, or rose-brown.

If you have warmer skin tones, frame colors like warm blue, off-white, fire-engine red, orange, copper, peach, copper or gold tend to look better.

Looking for Your Perfect` Frames? We Can Help!

Want to look great and see clearly? Pop on over and select from a wide range of high-quality designer frames and independent eyewear that match your personal style.

If you need any help, our dedicated optician will happily help you find something that will make you feel confident as ever. Our inclusive selection of sunglasses, eyeglasses, reading glasses, and contact lenses guarantee that you’ll achieve clear and comfortable vision in style.

Contact or visit Vision Health Specialties in Midland so we can start looking for the perfect frames for you.

At Vision Health Specialties, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 432-694-5259 or book an appointment online to see one of our Midland eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Q&A

Frequntly Asked Questions with Dr. Billy J. Cook

Q: How do I choose glasses that my child will actually wear?

  • A: When choosing frames for your child, the most important factor is to let them help in the selection process. When children are allowed to choose their glasses frames they will be much more likely to wear them.

Q: How often should I get a new pair of glasses?

  • A: Optometrists recommend updating to new glasses every one to three years as needed.
    If your prescription has changed, you should definitely get a new pair to prevent eye strain and increase comfort.

How’s Your Hand-Eye Coordination?

People with poor hand-eye coordination are sometimes perceived as clumsy or inattentive. The truth is that poor hand-eye coordination stems from a deficit in visual-motor coordination. Fortunately, your eye doctor will assess your coordination during a comprehensive eye exam.

What Is Hand-Eye Coordination?

Hand-eye coordination is a person’s ability to smoothly control their hand movements based on the visual cues they receive from the brain. When the eyes and brain are communicating effectively, a person’s hand-eye coordination can be drastically improved. Many activities, from driving a car to catching a ball, depend on our visual system working at its best.

Here’s how it works: Our eyes capture what they see around them, and send this visual information to the brain. The brain processes and interprets these images, and then communicates with our hands and arms, informing them of the object’s position, speed, size and many other parameters.

This process is very complex and must work seamlessly for our hands to react quickly to visual stimuli. Having good hand-eye coordination can be the difference between turning the steering wheel away from an encroaching car to avoid an accident, or being hit by that car.

We all utilize hand-eye coordination multiple times throughout the day when doing things like:

  • Writing
  • Driving
  • Typing
  • Playing a video game
  • Exercising or playing sports
  • Inserting a credit card into a chip reader

When the visual and motor systems don’t communicate efficiently, a person may experience symptoms like clumsiness at the very least, and professional, academic or developmental challenges at the worst. For example, poor hand-eye coordination can interfere with typing skills, attention and handwriting.

Even a person with perfect visual acuity (eyesight) and great motor skills can experience poor hand-eye coordination. That’s because the problem usually isn’t with the individual systems, but rather how the brain, eyes and the body interact with each other.

Eye Exams Can Detect Problems With Visual Skills

Assessing hand-eye coordination is crucial for both adults and children, as this skill greatly impacts most parts of life.

At your comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will check several visual skills, including hand-eye coordination. If a problem with hand-eye coordination or any other visual skill is found, Dr. Billy J. Cook will discuss the next steps in treating and correcting the problem.

To schedule an eye exam for you or your child, call Vision Health Specialties in Midland today!

People who appear to be clumsy or react slowly to visual stimuli may actually have a problem with their hand-eye coordination. During a comprehensive eye exam your eye doctor can assess your hand-eye coordination and recommend ways to address any deficiencies.

#1: What other visual skills are evaluated during an eye exam?

During an eye exam, your optometrist will test for visual acuity, convergence, eye tracking, eye teaming, color vision, and focusing. Testing these skills is especially important for school-aged children, since learning and academic performance heavily depend on healthy vision.

#2: How often do you need a comprehensive eye exam?

Adults should have their eyes examined by an optometrist every year, or as frequently as their optometrist recommends. Children should have their eyes first checked at 6-12 months of age and then as frequently as advised by the optometrist. As a rule, most children should be seen when they are 2 or 3 years old, before first grade and then every year thereafter.

If you have any concerns about your child’s vision or are yourself due for an eye exam, contact us today. We want what’s best for your vision and life!

Why Are Blue Eyes More Sensitive To Light?

Did you know that blue eyes don’t contain any blue pigment? They appear blue due to how the light reacts with the structures of the iris.

In fact, the top layer of a blue iris doesn’t contain any pigment at all. This lack of pigment is the reason that blue-eyed people may be more sensitive to bright light and have a greater need to wear sunglasses than their brown-eyed counterparts.

Why Do Your Eyes Need Sun Protection?

Eyes of all colors need shielding from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Exposure to UV light can contribute to the formation of short-term and long-term eye conditions such as corneal sunburn and macular degeneration.

That’s why it’s so important to choose high-quality sunwear with 100% UV blocking lenses, and to throw on a sun hat for an added layer of protection.

UV protection is important for individuals of all ages—especially children—who are more susceptible than adults to the sun’s harmful rays, and tend to spend more time outdoors. It is estimated that up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays happens before the age of 18.

Why are Blue Eyes More Sensitive to Light?

Lighter colored eyes like blue, hazel and green have less of a pigment called ‘melanin’ than brown eyes do.

Melanin helps protect the retina from UV damage and blue light, putting those with blue eyes at a higher risk of developing UV-related eye damage.

If you have blue eyes, you may have experienced this first-hand. Bright light may be uncomfortable or you may want to reach for your shades as soon as you leave the house on a sunny day.

That’s why optometrists urge blue-eyed patients to be particularly vigilant about UV protection, so as to mitigate their chances of developing eye disease and other complications.

How We Can Help

Whether you have blue eyes or not, sunglasses are an important part of keeping your eyes healthy for a lifetime.

At Vision Health Specialties, we’ll be happy to advise on the perfect high-quality and protective pair of sunglasses to suit your needs and personal style.

To learn more about the eye care services we offer or to schedule an eye exam, contact Vision Health Specialties in Midland today!

Q&A:

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Billy J. Cook

Q 1: Should I wear sunglasses even when it’s not sunny outside?

  • A: Yes! You should wear your sunglasses whenever outdoors during the day, even on an overcast, winter day. UV light can pass through clouds and reflect off surfaces like car windows and pavement.

Q 2: What type of sunglasses are the most suitable for blue eyes?

  • A: The most protective sunglasses are wraparound sunglasses that protect the eyes from every angle. You can also opt for photochromic lenses, which offer total UV protection but only become tinted when exposed to outdoor sunlight, and turn clear when you come indoors again. Your optometrist can help you choose the best lens and frame options for your needs and lifestyle.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Midland, Texas. Visit Vision Health Specialties for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Childhood Myopia Is in Crisis Mode on a Global Scale

When it comes to the prevalence of myopia (nearsightedness), the statistics are staggering. By 2050, nearly half of the world’s population—about 5 billion people—will be myopic. Below are a few useful tips to help you prevent your child from being part of that statistic.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, causing light rays to focus in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it, while looking at something far away. So, people with nearsightedness perceive distant objects as blurred while close-up objects can remain clear.

Myopia tends to develop during childhood, when the eyeballs rapidly grow (along with the rest of the body), mainly between the ages of 8-18. It can worsen slowly or quickly, but it is not simply an inconvenience. People with progressive myopia are more likely to develop serious eye diseases like cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration and glaucoma later in life—conditions which may lead to permanent loss of vision and even blindness.

How To Know Whether Your Child Is Myopic

Below are some telltale signs to watch for:

  • Blurred distance vision – Objects in the distance are blurred; kids may complain that they can’t see the board
  • Headaches – When myopia isn’t corrected, it can cause eye strain and headaches.
  • Head tilting or squinting – If your child squints or tilts his or her head while watching TV, for example, it may be a symptom of myopia.
  • Looking at objects too closely – If you notice your child moving closer to the TV or squinting as they try to see the writing on the board, it may indicate myopia.

What Parents Can Do to Slow Their Child’s Myopia Progression

  • Encourage your child to go outdoors for at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Studies show that playing outdoors reduces the risk of developing myopia and slows its progression.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends staring at a screen, reading and doing close work such as homework.
  • When your child uses a digital screen, make sure that it isn’t too close to the face.
  • Teach the 20-20-20 rule: During screen time, take a break every 20 minutes to look at an object across the room or out the window about 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Billy J. Cook

Q: How is myopia diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will perform a thorough pediatric eye exam to diagnose myopia, which often includes a visual acuity test, where the eye doctor will use an eye chart made up of letters of varied sizes. If the test results indicate myopia, then the optometrist may shine a light into their eyes and evaluate the reflection off the retina to determine the degree of refractive error for their prescription.

Q: Can myopia lead to blindness?

  • A: High myopia may increase your child’s risk of developing more serious eye conditions later in life, such as cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma. Left untreated, high myopia complications can sometimes lead to blindness—which is why routine eye exams are critical.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Midland, Texas. Visit Vision Health Specialties for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Allergy Season Is Here And Stronger Than Ever

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming and pollen is drifting through the warm air, wreaking havoc on people who suffer from eye allergies. Many people say their seasonal allergies arrived ahead of schedule this year, and that their symptoms are more intense than in previous years.

Below, we’ll explain what eye allergies are and why allergy season is becoming longer and stronger.

What Are Eye Allergies?

Eye allergies, also known as “allergic conjunctivitis,” are the eyes’ reaction to irritants and allergens in the environment. Symptoms of eye allergies may vary from inconvenient to debilitating, but they’re usually treatable.

Symptoms of eye allergies include red, itchy, swollen eyes, watery or painful eyes, and are often accompanied by sneezing, a runny nose and nasal congestion.

Major causes of eye allergies include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Makeup and cosmetic products
  • Preservatives found in eye drops

Eye allergies are treated on a case-by-case basis, depending on what allergen is the culprit. Treatment can include oral or topical antihistamines, decongestants, lubricating eye drops and limiting exposure to allergens.

Why Does Allergy Season Seem Longer and Stronger This Year?

Several studies have observed the relationship between climate change and pollen season. As atmospheric temperatures rise, flowers and trees sense the warmth and start to release pollen.

When comparing the pollen season of 1990 to that of 2018, scientists noticed that it had increased by 20 days during that timespan. What’s more, the environmental pollen concentration had also increased by 21% over the same period. In other words, allergy season is becoming longer and more intense each year.

Aside from warming temperatures, the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels also plays a role in making allergy season more intense. Plants need CO2 to grow, and more CO2 means larger, stronger plants.

As atmospheric CO2 increases with climate change, flowers are producing significantly more pollen. CO2 can also make certain plants more potent and increase the amount of allergen-containing particles per pollen grain.

In fact, if atmospheric CO2 levels keep rising at this pace, it is projected that by the end of the century there will be 200% more pollen in the air!

You may be wondering if you’re in the clear because there aren’t many pollen-producing plants in your area. But some research suggests that changes in wind patterns due to climate change can expose people to pollen originating hundreds of miles away.

If You Suffer From Eye Allergies, We Can Help!

Although climate change is bad news for allergy sufferers, the good news is that we can help you manage your symptoms.

Don’t let eye allergies put a damper on your time in the sun. To schedule an eye exam and learn how we can offer long-lasting relief, call Vision Health Specialties in Midland today!

At Vision Health Specialties, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 432-694-5259 or book an appointment online to see one of our Midland eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Q&A

#1: What else can you do to ease the symptoms of eye allergies?

Wearing wraparound sunglasses whenever outdoors can protect your eyes from airborne allergens like pollen and dust. Also, you may want to temporarily stop wearing contact lenses until your symptoms subside. Allergens can build up on the surface of the lens and irritate your eyes every time you insert them. Additionally, keep your windows closed whenever you’re indoors to prevent allergens from entering.

#2: Are eye allergies dangerous?

Eye allergies rarely cause any permanent damage to your eyes, but they can cause temporary blurred vision. Symptoms of eye allergies can be quite distracting and even painful, so be sure to visit your local optometrist at the first sign of discomfort.

Why Drinking Wine May Help Prevent Cataracts

Some say that just like fine wine, people get better with age. While this may be true for character and personality, it often isn’t the case as it comes to one’s eyes. Age is often accompanied with all sorts of eye problems, like macular degeneration, dry eyes and cataracts.

But these eye conditions aren’t inevitable. Certain actions, habits, foods (and drinks!) may help ward off or reduce the severity of age-related eye problems—like cataracts.

But First, What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that affects millions of people in North America.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Colors that seem faded
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Double vision
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • The need to frequently update one’s corrective lens prescription

Cataracts occur naturally with age and may not always require treatment if a person’s vision remains mostly clear. Keep in mind that eye injury and certain eye diseases may also lead to cataracts.

The main treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery—it replaces the natural, cloudy lens with a clear, artificial lens.

The onset of cataracts may be prevented or at least delayed by wearing sunglasses, quitting smoking, having regular eye exams and eating nutritious foods (yes, wine included).

How Drinking Wine May Help Prevent Cataract

Wine is loaded with eye-healthy antioxidants that may protect the eyes against cataracts and other age-related conditions. Several studies have reported numerous benefits of regular and moderate wine consumption, including protection against heart disease and macular degeneration.

A recent study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, on the relationship between wine and cataracts involves data from 490,000 individuals who voluntarily disclosed details about their lifestyle and eating habits. When all other factors were considered (age, gender, smoking, weight, diabetes, ethnicity), the findings concluded that consuming about 6.5 glasses of wine per week may decrease a person’s risk of needing cataract surgery.

According to the study, wine drinkers seem to be the least likely candidates for cataract surgery when compared to non-drinkers or those who consumed other varieties of alcohol, like beer and liquor.

It’s important to note that the study does not establish a causal relationship between wine consumption and cataract surgery—only a significant association linking the two.

The head of the study, Dr. Sharon Chua, further explains that the development of cataracts may be due to gradual oxidative stress, which is a natural part of aging. The abundance of polyphenol antioxidants in wine may help counteract oxidative stress.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Participants who consumed a glass of wine 1-2 times per week had a 7% reduced need for cataract surgery than those who drank 1-3 times or less per month.
  • Participants who drank a glass of wine daily or almost daily experienced a 5-6% increased risk of cataract surgery compared to those who drank 1-4 times a week.
  • Consuming red wine weekly provided participants with a 14% reduced need for cataract surgery compared to those who abstained.
  • Weekly consumption of white wine and champagne reduced the need for cataract surgery by 10%.

So, what’s the bottom line?

Antioxidants are super beneficial for eye health and may help reduce your risk of developing a severe case of cataracts that would require surgery. This study suggests that moderate wine consumption on a weekly basis may lower your risk of cataract surgery when coupled with an antioxidant-rich diet. Furthermore, red wine seemed to have the most dramatic effect compared to white wine or other forms of alcohol.

Speak to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet, just to be safe.

For further information and guidance about keeping your eyes healthy, speak with Dr. Billy J. Cook about your options.

Don’t forget to have your annual eye exam to check for vision health by contacting Vision Health Specialties in Midland today!

At Vision Health Specialties, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 432-694-5259 or book an appointment online to see one of our Midland eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Q&A:

#1: What other foods can help protect the eyes against cataracts?

Foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, C and E, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Try to consume produce of every color for a variety of eye-protecting nutrients. Your optometrist can offer further guidance for your personal situation.

#2: When is cataract surgery a good option?

Cataract surgery is the only method of removing cataracts, and may be necessary when your cloudy vision stops you from carrying out daily tasks, like driving and reading. If cataracts are detected, your optometrist will closely track your vision and recommend the next steps.

Are You Susceptible To Vision Loss?

Vision loss is more common than you may think! In fact, it’s among the most prevalent disabilities in adults and children. Knowing what puts you at risk of developing vision loss is important and can help you to be proactive about caring for your eyes.

Below, we’ll explore the most common causes of vision loss and the risk factors associated with each.

Spreading awareness and education about visual health is just one way that our eye doctors near you can help. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call us today.

Common Causes of Vision Loss

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. Too much inner-eye pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss.

Since symptoms don’t usually manifest in the early stages of glaucoma, getting regular eye exams is all the more crucial. Advanced or rapidly progressing glaucoma can show a variety of symptoms, such as blurred vision, headache, severe eye pain and redness, seeing halos around lights, and nausea.

Risk factors for developing glaucoma include:

  • Being 60 years or older
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
  • High myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Previous eye injury or certain eye surgeries
  • Certain medications, like corticosteroids
  • Thin corneas
  • Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and sickle-cell anemia

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy. A healthy lens is clear and allows light to pass through it undisturbed.

Common cataract symptoms include cloudy or blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, light sensitivity, double vision in the affected eye, and seeing colors as faded or yellowish.

Risk factors for developing cataracts include:

  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Previous eye surgery, injury, or inflammation
  • Alcoholism
  • Extended use of corticosteroids

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over the age of 60. It occurs when the macula (the small central portion of the retina, which is responsible for sharp, colorful, central vision) begins to wear down.

Early stages of AMD usually go unnoticed, but later stages of the disease can produce symptoms like blurred vision, dark or blurry areas in your central vision, and problems with color perception.

There’s not yet a cure for AMD, but certain treatments can help prevent vision loss.

Risk factors for developing AMD include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Long-term sun exposure
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Family history of AMD
  • Light-colored eyes
  • Farsightedness

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes that affects the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye called the retina.

Initially, diabetic retinopathy shows no symptoms but can eventually lead to blindness. As it develops, it can cause increased floaters, impaired color vision, dark spots in your visual field, and blurred vision.

Risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Length of time from diabetes diagnosis — the longer you’ve had it, the higher your chances of developing visual complications
  • Uncontrolled blood sugar
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • African American, Hispanic, and Native American ethnicities
  • Family history of DR

So, what’s the bottom line ?

Multiple factors contribute to eye disease and vision loss, and some may even be relevant to you. If you think you may be at risk for vision loss or experience any of the symptoms listed above, speak with your eye doctor in Midland as soon as possible. We also recommend you have your eyes thoroughly examined every 1-2 years, or as often as your eye doctor recommends. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Vision Health Specialties today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions With Our Midland Eye Doctors

  1. Can blindness be prevented?

When caught early, many eye diseases can be treated to halt or slow the progression of the disease and potentially prevent vision loss. The best things you can do to preserve your vision for the long term is to lead a healthy lifestyle and make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years.

  1. Which eye diseases are genetically inherited?

More than 350 ocular diseases have some sort of genetic component. Certain diseases, like retinitis pigmentosa and albinism, are directly inherited through chromosomal information. In other cases, a predisposition to the disease is inherited, rather than the disease itself.

How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences.

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma.

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO.

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At Vision Health Specialties in Midland we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Billy J. Cook

Q: What Causes Sleep Apnea?

  • A: Sleep apnea occurs when in-part or completely stop breathing when sleeping. This causes your lungs to strain harder for oxygen, and makes the brain send signals that jerk your body awake to resume proper breathing.

Q: What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

  • A: A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring that is loud enough to disturb the sleep of the patient as well as others around, even across the walls. That said, not everyone who snores suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Midland, Texas. Visit Vision Health Specialties for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.